IOPCC Trip Report

West Bay to Lyme Regis.
8th August 2010

This trip was scheduled for 16th May but the weather was too bad so it had to be postponed.

Sunday 8th August promised to have good weather and so it was. Warm, sunny and light winds. It was cloudy in the morning but we even had some sunshine in the afternoon. The afternoon sea breeze kicked in and started ruffling up some waves just as were coming off the water.

Eleven paddlers met at West Bay and launched without incident down the steep shingle. The team included Ian on his first outing since having his biceps tendons surgically re-routed. (ouch!). Sharon – being shepherded by Dicky was welcomed on her first club paddle. John – a guest from PHCC had come along with Jackie to demonstrate how to catch mackerel (or not). The rest were a few other usual suspects including Jim and Beryl, Clive J, John C, Jill and John M.

This coast is a part of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and is a Mecca for enthusiasts of geology and palaeontology. The striated cliffs display fossilised creatures that inhabited warm shallow seas here 200 million years ago.

There is often rough water as the River Brit flows out between the breakwaters at West Bay. However, all was calm for us and we made good progress towards Eypes Mouth which is the first of the valleys plunging to sea level interspersed between tall hills. The beaches along the coast were all very busy with holidaymakers on this sunny August Sunday.

Eypes Mouth is divided by Thorncombe Beacon and Doghouse Hill from Seatown a mile or so further west.

Golden Cap is the highest point on England’s south coast and dominates the skyline. The name describes the lighter Cretaceous sand on top of the Jurassic cliffs. The boulders that extend out to sea can sometimes create rough water – but not today.

Between Golden cap and Charmouth the cliffs are crumbling and there are frequent rock falls. It was amazing to see that there were many people ignoring the warnings about rock falls clambering up the cliffs in search of fossils.

A few paddlers dawdled along trailing a fishing line and despite being very persistent nothing edible was caught all day. We reached Charmouth without incident and landing was easy today at low water on the sandy beach. Half of the group opted to stay at Charmouth, have a leisurely lunch and catch some rays and five paddlers carried on for another mile or so to Lyme Regis.

The cliffs between Charmouth and Lyme Regis are on the move and the most recent major land slip was in 2008 when the towns rubbish dump ended up on the beach. The five paddled into the Harbour at Lyme Regis sheltered by the famous Cobb, Britain’s oldest working breakwater. This solid structure receives an annual battering in the winter storms and is repeatedly rebuilt. All was quiet for us and we drifted in – had our chips and ice creams and paddled back across the bay in perfect conditions to join the others at Charmouth.

The sun came out in the afternoon making for a sparkly blue sea which was just picking up a few wavelets as we approached West bay. Despite John and Jackie’s persistence no fish were caught! The landing at East beach at West Bay was not for the faint hearted. Ian went in first and was there to help everyone else. Sharon, on her first outing didn’t quite stay dry. Beryl’s landing was text book perfect!

Barbara John and Jackie continued on down the coast to Burton Bradstock. The cliffs between West Bay and Burton are spectacular sandstone and as Jackie remarked look like purpose built high rise for the gulls. The beach at Burton was packed with holiday makers are they were well entertained as Barbara scored 0 and John scored 0.5 for style when landing –again, not staying entirely dry. Jackie timed it perfectly and made it look very easy. A stroll up to Beach Road brought an end to a very pleasant summer outing.
Sharon on her first club outing The group heading towards Charmouth
Some paddlers carried on to Lyme Regis Beryl and Jim at Lyme Regis
Sharon getting it wrong landing at West Bay Beryl at West Bay
Jackie and John fishing Heading back to Burton Bradstock
Jackie John at Hive Beach
Jim giving the pre-paddle briefing

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.

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Report and Pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast